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The Leopold Center is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University created to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources. The Center's work is focused in these initiatives - ecological systems research, marketing and food systems research, policy research and cross-cutting research that bridges all areas (water, energy, soil and alternative farming systems).
In spite of three inches of rain throughout the day, the sun appeared just in time for a tour of organic research plots, led by Iowa State University agronomist Kathleen Delate. Delate leads the Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) experiment supported by the Leopold Center at the ISU Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm that hosted a recent field day. Set up 18 years ago, the LTAR plots are the longest-running comparison of organic and conventional crop production in the nation. Rainfall this season is 8 inches above normal, which has affected planting, emergence and weed management in the organic plots, but Delate expects yields to remain competitive with conventional. Read her report of the LTAR and other research she has been conducting, in her field day flier [PDF]. More about the LTAR research program and Leopold Center support. Here's a review of other long-term organic research and details about the higher water quality in organic systems.